no edit summary
==His impact on the literature of the Renaissance==
While Petrarch wrote in both Latin and Italian it is arguably his works and especially his poetry in his native tongue that was most influential. Vernacular poetry had begun to flourish in the 13th and 14th century and the works of Dante and the Sicilian School are still considered to be masterpieces of European literature<ref> Burckhardt, Jacob. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, (London, Penguin Books, 1990), p 117</ref>. Dante one of the world’s greatest poets had actually been a friend of Petrarch’s father. The writer was, to have a major impact on the development of poetry in the Renaissance.
He is often credited as the inventor of the sonnet, one of the most popular poetic forms in the western tradition. This is a fourteen-line poem in the metre known as iambic pentameter. However, he really only perfected the form and he introduced innovations that allowed poets to use language in a very expressive way. Petrarch also developed new literary devices such as the extended metaphor. He was not the first to write about love in a very romantic way and about an idealized beloved. However, his poems dedicated to his love of Laura were very influential popularized the writing of love poetry in Italy and beyond. His use of sonnets to express his inner life and emotions was revolutionary and original. This did much to encourage poets to write in a more personal and introspective style<ref> Kirkham, Victoria and Armando Maggi. Petrarch: A Critical Guide to the Complete Works. (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2009), p. 119</ref>. Petrarch became the model for lyrical poets for many centuries. His sonnets, known as the Petrarchan Sonnet, were very popular in Elizabethan England. Shakespeare was clearly influenced by the Italian and he developed his own style of sonnet, known as the Shakespearian sonnet, based on Petrarch’s verse. The Italian wrote his poetry in the Tuscan dialect, as had Dante ,and this led it to become the standard form of literary expression in the Italian Peninsula, which had many regional dialects. The Italian was not only a great poet he also was a great prose writer. He wrote the first autobiography since the classical era and this was a landmark in the development of the genre and encouraged more writers to compose their memoirs and life-story. His dialogues, letters, and other works, in Latin inspired many imitators in the Renaissance.
==The First Humanist==
Humanism was a cultural movement that valued human qualities, such as reason and argued that this world had worth and value, which was contrary to Christian teachings and taught that human agency could improve society and give dignity and meaning to the individual life<ref> Nauert, Charles G. Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe: Second Edition. (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2006), p 115</ref>. Petrarch is often regarded as the Father of Humanism. This is because he helped to popularize the study of the classical world and literature. He personally rediscovered many manuscripts in monasteries and had Greek works translated to Latin, so that they could be more readily read and studied. Petrarch believed that the study of the classics could enhance a person, intellectually and morally and this became axiomatic among humanists. The Italian in his works encouraged his readers to take an interest in nature and helped to formulate a new aesthetic, which did not regard the world as a ‘vale of tears’ but as something that was beautiful and could help a person to develop spiritually <ref>Naubert, p. 18</ref>. His famous ‘Letter on the ‘Ascent of Mont Ventoux’ is regarded as a landmark, which argued that a delight in nature could be morally and spiritually uplifting<ref> Petrarch Epistolae familiares (IV, 1) </ref>. This is held by many to have initiated a move to the re-discovery of the world after the Middle Ages and its focus on the life to come, which was a characteristic of the humanists. This ultimately led to the rational examination of the world and this had dramatic consequences in the fields as diverse as science, politics and philosophy. Moreover, the poet in his writings was very much interested in the interior life of a person and suggested that everyone had a rich inner life, a key tenet of humanism. He held that the individual was important, and this was radical for the time <ref>. Bishop, Morris Petrarch and His World. (Bloomington, Indiana. Indiana University Press 1963), p 118</ref> However, Petrarch was conflicted, he was a very religious man and yet he admired the pagan classical world. He was ultimately able to resolve this by arguing that the classical and pagan world could help a person to become more moral and to achieve salvation. This did much to ensure that humanism and its love of the classical past was acceptable in an Italy and Europe that was still staunchly Christian <ref>Bishop. p. 201</ref>.